Splenic Red Pulp Macrophages Cross-Prime Early Effector CTL That Provide Rapid Defense against Viral Infections.
Cross-presentation allows dendritic cells (DCs) to present peptides derived from endocytosed Ags on MHC class I molecules, which is important for activating CTL against viral infections and tumors. Type 1 classical DCs (cDC1), which depend on the transcription factor Batf3, are considered the main cross-presenting cells. In this study, we report that soluble Ags are efficiently cross-presented also by transcription factor SpiC-dependent red pulp macrophages (RPM) of the spleen. In contrast to cDC1, RPM used the mannose receptor for Ag uptake and employed the proteasome- and TAP-dependent cytosolic cross-presentation pathway, previously shown to be used in vitro by bone marrow-derived DCs. In an in vivo vaccination model, both cDC1 and RPM cross-primed CTL efficiently but with distinct kinetics. Within a few days, RPM induced very early effector CTL of a distinct phenotype (Ly6A/E Ly6C KLRG1 CD127 CXCR1 Grz-B). In an adenoviral infection model, such CTL contained the early viral spread, whereas cDC1 induced short-lived effector CTL that eventually cleared the virus. RPM-induced early effector CTL also contributed to the endogenous antiviral response but not to CTL memory generation. In conclusion, RPM can contribute to antiviral immunity by generating a rapid CTL defense force that contains the virus until cDC1-induced CTL are available to eliminate it. This function can be harnessed for improving vaccination strategies aimed at inducing CTL.